It was lights out for the Cubs almost as soon as Albert Pujols launched a first-inning homer that knocked out the 'I' in Big Mac Land. What can I say? I guess that is The Machine's way to say he is ready to move on from the Mark McGwire Era.
And Stat Boy is eager to move away from the era in which Ryan Freel, Mike Fontenot and Aaron Miles patrol third base.
Once upon a time, Freel was a very valuable utility player who averaged 36 steals and a .367 on-base percentage while playing various positions for the Cincinnati Reds from 2004 to 2006. Since then, Freel has strayed away from stealing bases and has wandered over to Craigslist to steal some hearts as he has 21 steals since his hey-day.
And in addition to his 0-for-3 night at the plate, Freel found a way to do the impossible: Overthrow the giant of a Gold Glove winning first baseman also known as Derrek Lee.
Meanwhile, Fontenot continues to struggle, even though manager Lou Piniella moved him back to his natural position of second base. And Miles has been as effective as Mike Damone's five-point plan.
So it's time to get all fantasy baseball in this bitch and invoke some change Cubs fans can believe in.
Radical Step One is going to a local sports equipment store and buying a new second baseman's mitt for Alfonso Soriano, who is making $16 million this year and probably could afford to buy his own glove. Soriano slugged as a second sacker as he mashed 157 homers, posted an .820 OPS and stole 162 bases as a full-timer from 2001-05.
On the other hand, he committed 105 errors at second base in that time.
But second basemen that average 31 homers, 38 doubles, 32 steals and 90 ribbies don't grow on trees. Sometimes the best defense is an offensive attack that will produce long balls, two-baggers and swiped bags.
Soriano's hop and dart-throwing arm in left field would be gone, but not forgotten. Speaking of dart throwing, remember when Bob Brenly said you could throw a dart in the Cubs dugout and find a better defensive outfielder than Soriano.
If I was throwing the dart, it would have hit Micah Hoffpauir.
The life-long Four-A player is what Daryle Ward would have been had he not eaten the entire post-game spread.
Hoffpauir might as well have his name changed to Hoffpower as he has hit .314 with a .372 OBP to go along with four homers and 14 RBIs ... and in 53 less plate appareances has outperformed the Cubs everyday first baseman, who also has four home runs and 18 runs batted in.
"The Hoff" can play left and put Brenly's prediction to the test. And even if he butchers a ball or two (or two dozen), it will matter less if he keeps slugging at a .557 clip.
And at third base, Bobby Scales, please stand up, grab a glove and head over to the area vacated by Aramis Ramirez.
Scales had more hits in his first week in the big leagues than Fontenot and Miles have combined for in their last 14 games combined.
Hopefully on this road trip the Cubs will find their bats while somehow stranding Fontenot, Miles and Neal Cotts at the San Diego Zoo.